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SOFIC 2018: Illumination Tool Enhancements

Streamlight details military business

Matt Baker, the Director of Sales – Military and Federal Divisions for Eagleville, Pennsylvania-based Streamlight, Inc. provided some elucidation on the dynamics occurring in the portable lighting sector.

During a product demonstration at the company’s exhibit booth, the author saw two new company products including the PolyTacX tactical light. The PolyTacX is a non-metallic, poly-carbonate product, which supplies the user with 600 lumens of white light (according to a company document) in a programmable platform. “By programmable, the user can go from a high, to strobe to a low mode in a matter of taps on the tail path of the light. It runs on two CR123 batteries – a very common platform for our military’s higher output tactical lights. And it will also accept a lithium ion USB power battery,” the industry subject matter expert explained. So, enter one challenge which Streamlight met in this market space – whereas the military typically has a large appetite for CR123 batteries, the consumer market leans to the lithium ion USB battery – the latter of which Streamlight also provides in a complete rechargeable system. Further, the PolyTacX will accept a ‘low light filter’, meaning it has the ability to go red, green or blue. “What also makes the PolyTacX unique is its proprietary grip, a texturized, almost ‘skateboard-like’ grip on the handle – and this is US made – meeting the rigors of all trade acts, contract vehicles and other requirements,” Mr. Baker added. The 1-inch diameter allows it to fit all rings and even mounts that would be on a long-gun. “There are after markets. We make one mount that I don’t have here, that the light can slide into and be attached, that allows it to be a Picatinny- or carbine-fired weapon.”

A second new product, the TLR-7 rail-mounted tactical light, has 500 lumens of power and provides 1.5 hours of continuous runtime. The new product has a low profile, ambidextrous activation switch, and a “safe off” feature to prevent accidental activation and save on its single lithium battery. The TLR-7, “attaches to anything with a rail, and is a tool-less attachment – meaning it can be finger-tightened – no tools are needed to put this on and secure it on a weapon,” the company manager added. Providing another “lighter and smaller” benchmark product for the sector, TLR-7 weighs 2.4oz (68.1g), and was also designed to be “holster agnostic.”

With regard to one Streamlight heritage product, the Sidewinder Compact II lighting tool is becoming increasingly ubiquitous across the military services. The lighting tool has white light, a variety of color LEDs and an IR option for different tasks. It may be fitted onto the side of a helmet, clipped onto a MOLLE vest and used in other configurations. A variety of single batteries, including AA Alkaline or lithium, and CR123A lithium, power the light and provide a run time of more than 100 hours. “This is what is issued to every US Marine,” Mr. Baker recalled and concluded, “we have shipped more than 400,000 lights of this product. The Compact II is also a programme of record for naval aviation and Air Force battlefield airmen, and is on the Army’s approved family of flashlights – it has a ‘check in the box’ in every US DoD entity.” Compact II is also in service in many non-US military forces.                                 

Marty Kauchak

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